Veloci, this Loiret company that bets on electric bicycles… without batteries

Malgré sa technique d’assistance unique au monde, le vélo électrique loirétain devrait rapidement voir apparaître l’arrivée de concurrents sur ce nouveau créneau.

Veloci Industries will launch the production of 1,000 copies of its bicycle model equipped with a Pi-Pop supercapacitor at the end of the year, after a testing phase that has lasted for several months.

Several dozen customer ambassadors have experienced the machine and provided us with their feedback.explains Adrien Lelièvre, president of the group based in Olivet, in the Orleans area. This method of collaboration has allowed Veloci Industries to make many improvements to the basic Pi-Pop model. “.

Originality compared to classic electrically assisted bicycles (VAE), the machine works without a battery, thanks to a supercapacitor. This innovative technology, adapted to the bike by the company’s engineers, reuses the energy produced by the rider to help propel the machine when needed. The Loiretain manufacturer lists at least three advantages in this context. First of all, the Pi-Pop does not contain any rare metals, such as lithium, unlike the EAVs that are sold on the market. Therefore, it eliminates the worries about recycling the supply and the battery. Secondly, the machine does not need to be recharged, which creates restrictions for the user and limits the life of the batteries. On the contrary, its cycles are unlimited, says the manufacturer. So many assets in favor of the energy transition presented by Adrien Lelièvre on the set of the TF1 newspaper last March. This switch to prime-time listening was a real launch pad for the Loiret-made bike. It would have sparked pre-orders for some 10,000 copies of PiPop that Veloci hopes to deliver in 2022 and 2023.

Four years of research

The adventure of this revolutionary machine began five years ago with the acquisition in 2016 and 2017 by Adrien Lelièvre of the small electronic wiring companies STEE and the manufacture of magnetic cards Mecatronique Industrial Solutions. This former industrial director of the French ETI Exxelia, specialized in electronic components for defense, space and aeronautics, groups them under the Veloci industries holding company. While Stee and Mecatronics have continued their historical activity in parallel, the buyer has hired a CNRS doctor specialized in energy storage systems, as well as a PhD student in energy management for soft mobility. Objective for Adrien Lelièvre, to adapt to the bicycle the supercapacitors manufactured by Exxelia for its three avant-garde sectors.

Supported by important clients such as La Poste, Air France and Enedis, the businessman took four years to design the Pi-Pop, now protected by several patents. Sold for less than 2000 euros, it will really attack the market from the beginning of the school year, but especially from the first quarter of 2023. This deadline should herald the end of supply disruptions for mainly Asian electronic components, according to most The experts. .

80 employees in 2025

The 15 to 20% increase in bicycle sales since the start of the health crisis in 2020 allows Industrias Veloci to envision very favorable development prospects and a change in dimension. The group expects a production rate of 25,000 Pi-Pop in the next three years with an expected turnover of around €50 million. A big jump since the group achieved less than two million euros of turnover in 2021. In this context, Veloci will double the surface area of ​​its facilities with the purchase before the summer of a new 1,000 m2 building in Saint-Cyr en Val, town also located in the metropolis of Orleans. Planned to exclusively operate the bicycle manufacturing activity, the future unit will eventually employ 80 people, according to Adrien Lelièvre. If the businessman remains discreet about the investment, financed with his own funds, granted to develop the Pi-Pop, he now plans to densify the activity of the factory that will be operational in 2023. He should also eventually manufacture models of electric bicycles. without chains and rechargeable thanks to the pedals.